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Christmas ‘party planner’ drug dealer becomes first to be jailed for possession of laughing gas canisters | UK News

A drug dealer who was caught with party bags containing canisters of laughing gas has become the first person to be jailed for possession of the class C drug since it was outlawed.

Thomas Salton, 30, from Brentwood in Essex was found with about 60 small canisters of nitrous oxide known as ‘laughing gas’, 48 one-gram bags of ketamine, and £39,000 in cash when police pulled his Range Rover over on 1 December 2023.

A further 408 nitrous oxide canisters and 965 grams of ketamine were later found at a property Salton was renting 10 miles from his home.

Salton will spend 35 months in prison.

He pleaded guilty to drug possession with intent to supply at a hearing last month and was sentenced today at Basildon Crown Court.

The ban on nitrous oxide came into force in November as part of a campaign to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Nitrous oxide, also nicknamed “hippy crack”, is now a class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Alex Hinds, a prosecutor for CPS East of England, said: “The evidence against Thomas Salton was overwhelming and this case is an example of all parts of the justice system working together to get drugs and those who sell them off the streets.

“The change in the law coupled with the actions of the police has allowed the CPS to present the strongest case in court and put Thomas Salton out of business and into prison.

“Nitrous oxide is a dangerous drug and hopefully this first conviction will deter those thinking of buying or selling it.”

Read more:
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Nitrous oxide: What you need to know

The CPS said the ketamine was divided into bags marked with a “K” and put inside the Christmas party bags along with two canisters of nitrous oxide.

At the sentencing, the CPS said it would begin legal proceedings to recover any money Salton had obtained from his crime.

‘Record’ Christmas sales for supermarkets aided by promotions | Business News

Price cuts to lure shoppers helped supermarkets rake in record revenues ahead of Christmas, according to industry data.

Kantar Worldpanel, which tracks sales and prices among chains, said £13.7bn passed through tills or via websites over the four weeks to 24 December.

It took average household grocery spending to an all-time high of £477 across the month, the report said, an increase of £28 on 2022.

The research noted a 2% rise in sales volumes – a statistic that will be particularly welcomed by chains.

It said that almost a third of all spending over the four-week period was made on items with some kind of offer, up by more than £820m on the same period in 2022.

Sales by value were up 7%.

That reflected, Kantar said, the continuing influence of grocery inflation.

That declined substantially to an annual rate of 6.7% last month from 9.1% seen in November, largely due to the high volume of promotions.

There is a risk that grocery inflation ticks up slightly this month.

That is because supermarkets dramatically reversed many Christmas discounts in January last year, a factor that pushed Kantar’s inflation measure to a then record high.

Chains’ loyalty schemes and supplier pricing is currently the subject of an inquiry by the Competition and Markets Authority.

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CMA targets supermarket loyalty schemes and supplier prices

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “The rate of inflation is coming down at the fastest pace we have ever recorded, but consumers are still facing pretty hefty pressures on their budgets.

“Retailers were clearly working hard during the festive period to offer best value and win over shoppers, and promotions were central to their strategy.”

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Currys boss slams government over retail costs

Kantar, which had warned in advance of Christmas of a slight rise in the cost of a traditional dinner, said demand was strong for most staples but some items did buck the trend.

Volumes of parsnips, sprouts and potatoes were up 12%, 9% and 8% respectively, and chilled gravy up by 11%.

Festive meats including pigs in blankets, sausages, hams and turkeys were also up by 6% collectively.

However, mince pie and Christmas pudding volumes were down by 4% and 7% respectively.

While all the established chains saw sales rise, Kantar reported that Sainsbury’s outperformed in terms of growth.

Discounters Lidl and Aldi, which have already claimed record sales, enjoyed their highest ever market shares for the Christmas period.

Christmas babies: Twins born weeks early but won’t share same birthday | UK News

A couple have received the ultimate Christmas present after their twins arrived four weeks early – but they won’t share the same birthday.

Adeeqa Ali and her partner Faisal Imran from Livingston, Scotland, went to hospital on Christmas Eve, nearly a month ahead of the expected due date.

Baby boy Jami and twin sister Rumi were both born within an hour of each other, but not on the same day.

Jami was born at 11.44pm on Christmas Eve, while his sister was delivered at 12.27am on Christmas Day.

Staff said the pair will remain with their mother in hospital for a few days but should be out by Hogmanay – New Year celebrated in the Scottish way.

Rumi came within minutes of being the first Christmas baby in Scotland, but Aberdeen’s Eliza Shearer took that accolade.

Maja and Jason Shearer rushed to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary on Christmas Eve as Eliza made an appearance a few days before she was due at 12.18 on Christmas Day.

Read more:
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Three-pawed puppy found abandoned in carrier bag

Mr Shearer said it was “touch and go” whether she would be born before or after midnight.

He described the quick change of plans with Mrs Shearer’s parents, who came over from Poland, having to host the traditional Christmas Eve celebration without the expectant parents at home.

He said: “Maja’s Polish, so we celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve and British Christmas on Christmas Day.

“Maja’s folks are over just now so they had to host Christmas dinner without us last night because we’re here, and they’ll probably get a nice Christmas dinner again today.”

The new father also thanked the midwifery staff at the hospital, who he said had been “absolutely amazing”.

Oldham: Family of parent and son, 15, who died in car crash say Christmas will be ‘immensely difficult’ | UK News

The family of a parent and their teenage son who died in a car crash in Greater Manchester have said Christmas will be “immensely difficult” without them.

Former theatre worker Clair, 42, and 15-year-old Sam, whose surnames were not released by police, died in the two-vehicle crash on Ripponden Road, Oldham, on 23 December.

A 13-year-old child suffered serious injuries and was taken to hospital.

The driver of the second vehicle, a 35-year-old male, was arrested at the scene and remains in custody, police said.

On Sunday, the family of Clair and Sam said Christmas without them both will be “immensely difficult not only for us, but for everybody that knew them both”.

“Clair was a smart, loving parent, daughter and sister who would do anything for anyone,” the family said in a statement.

“Prior to the pandemic, Clair worked at the Bolton Theatre, supporting those facing mental health challenges. She loved going to pottery class every week and was such a creative person and she could go from a lump of clay to making whatever she put her mind to.”

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The family said Sam was looking forward to studying music at college and loved to sing and play the drums.

“Sam’s favourite things to do, he was always around the house with his headphones on,” the statement said.

“When Sam wasn’t listening to music, he could be found in a world of his own playing on his computer. Sam’s family meant the world to him; he was a brother and son whose loss will leave a hole in our family forever.”

Police have appealed for anyone with dashcam, mobile phone, CCTV or doorbell footage from the area to come forward.

PC Thomas Johnson said: “Our thoughts continue to remain with their family who are being supported by officers at this really difficult time.”

‘Warmest’ Christmas Eve since 1997 as Christmas Day set to be hottest in years, says Met Office | UK News

Today (Sunday) has provisionally been recorded as the warmest Christmas Eve since 1997, according to the Met Office.

The weather agency said temperatures reached 15.3C at Heathrow, west London.

The warmest Christmas Eve on record was in 1931, when 15.5C was recorded in Aberdeen and Banff in Scotland.

Meanwhile, Christmas Day is expected to be the hottest in years as some parts of the UK are predicted to hit 14C.

Most of the country will remain mild and cloudy with drizzle at times ruling out a white Christmas, apart from the mountains in northern Scotland which could see snow.

Temperatures are unlikely to exceed the warmest Christmas Day on record when the temperature reached 15.6C in 1920.

However, Met Office forecaster Dan Stroud said this Christmas could see the “warmest Christmas day since 2016” as the UK hit 15.1C.

Met Office forecaster Liam Eslick said: “It’s been an exceptionally mild couple of days across all of the UK, temperatures have been well above average for the time of year, the maximum for December being 7C.

“Temperatures today have reached 15C in quite a few locations across the UK, the highest being 15.3C in two locations – one in Heathrow and one in Cippenham, Berkshire.”

No more white Christmases?

With 15.3C recorded at Heathrow, it’s certainly one of the warmest Christmas Eve’s in recent years – but the warmest on record was in 1931 when 15.5C was recorded in Aberdeen and Banff.

That was obviously some time ago, although that may have been down to mountain effects (the Fohn Effect, whereby air descending downwind of a mountain range is warmer than on the upwind side),rather than a more general warmth.

It is hard to draw any real conclusions, especially where records for a single day are involved.

But the relatively high temperatures are consistent with the general warming we’ve been experiencing (it looks like this is the first year the Central England Temperature has been above the 1961-1900 average in every month, for example), coupled with a south-westerly flow, thanks to the position of the jet stream.

Does it mean no more white Christmases?

No – firstly, it looks like there’ll be snow over the northern Scottish hills this Christmas, while more generally, changes in the jet stream may put us on the cold side in future years, bringing an increased risk of snow.

The UK is drawing in warmer air from the south contributing to this unusually mild weather.

Two separate yellow wind warnings were issued by the Met Office in Scotland and northern and central areas of England for Christmas Eve, saying people should expect travel disruption, damage to buildings and power cuts, while the rest of the country may see showers.

In Wales persistent and heavy rain could cause disruption to transport and power supplies with the possibility of flooding.

And further yellow weather warnings have been issued by the Met Office for later in the week, including parts of Scotland which could face heavy rain and snow.

UK weather: ‘Last-minute getaway trips’ face disruption due to wet and windy conditions in lead up to Christmas | UK News

“Last-minute getaway trips” could be disrupted due to wet and windy weather in the run-up to Christmas, the RAC has warned.

A number of yellow weather warnings for rain and wind are coming into force from Saturday 23 December until Christmas Day morning, mainly affecting northern Scotland but stretching down to parts of the east and west of England and parts of Wales.

Warnings for snow and ice also cover Inverness, Orkney and the Shetland islands. They were in place since 9pm today and last until 12pm tomorrow.

UK weather latest – the forecast where you are

The Met Office warned of potential disruption, adding that strong winds can cause cancellations to road, rail, air and ferry services.

“With this latest weather warning affecting a large area of Scotland and parts of northern England, there is the chance travellers’ last-minute getaway trips could be disrupted,” Rod Dennis, a spokesperson for RAC Breakdown, added.

“If trains are significantly delayed people are more likely to shift to the roads, which could add to already exceptionally high traffic volumes. Nationally, we expect around 3.2m separate getaway journeys to be made today by car.”

Passengers at St Pancras International station, London, as Christmas getaway chaos is expected to continue as the backlog from the suspension of cross-Channel rail services begins to clear and the weather remains unsettled. An unexpected strike by Eurotunnel French site staff on Thursday led to widespread disruption, before it came to end in the evening, with trade union representatives reaching an agreement with management. Picture date: Friday December 22, 2023.
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Disgruntled passengers at St Pancras station

He advised drivers to “be on their guard” when driving and reduce their speed, especially on more rural routes.

Motorway closures, train cancellations and queues to cross the Channel had already caused travel chaos for many across the UK since Thursday, partly due to Storm Pia.

‘Frantic Friday’

On the railways, strong winds led to services being suspended, particularly in Scotland, while in London, queues at St Pancras formed as the day was dubbed “Frantic Friday”.

Passengers at St Pancras International station, London, as Christmas getaway chaos is expected to continue as the backlog from the suspension of cross-Channel rail services begins to clear and the weather remains unsettled. An unexpected strike by Eurotunnel French site staff on Thursday led to widespread disruption, before it came to end in the evening, with trade union representatives reaching an agreement with management. Picture date: Friday December 22, 2023.
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Queues of passengers at St Pancras International station

Many services were playing catch-up after cancelled Eurostar trains due to unscheduled industrial action by French workers led to passengers having to rebook tickets.

In central London, the Elizabeth Line suffered severe delays between London Paddington, Reading and Heathrow Airport on Friday afternoon after two trains broke down.

 Passengers dressed as Christmas trees at St Pancras International station, London, as Christmas getaway chaos is expected to continue as the backlog from the suspension of cross-Channel rail services begins to clear and the weather remains unsettled. An unexpected strike by Eurotunnel French site staff on Thursday led to widespread disruption, before it came to end in the evening, with trade union representatives reaching an agreement with management. Picture date: Friday December 22, 2023.

While at King’s Cross Station, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak even made a surprise appearance, where he brought multiple boxes of mince pies – reportedly to give to key workers – at Marks & Spencer.

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Rishi Sunak buys several boxes of mince pies

His appearance came as the Department for Transport said rail fares will hike 4.9% from 3 March next year.

Read more UK news:
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90-minute wait in Dover and ‘limited’ facilities

Elsewhere, the Port of Dover in Kent said it was taking about 90 minutes to process cars, with passengers warned of “limited toilet facilities” and urged to bring refreshments to make the wait as comfortable as possible.

It attributed delays to a surge in demand for ferries after the Channel Tunnel rail link was closed on 21 December.

Delays at Port of Dover
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Delays at Port of Dover

Motorists were advised to travel before 11am or after 6pm if possible to reduce the chance of being stuck in long queues.

But closures on the M4 westbound and the A66 in both directions between south at Bridgefoot and north at Cockermouth in Cumbria led to long delays.

Delay at Eurotunnel
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Queues at Eurotunnel in Calais lasted until early evening

The M62 motorway was also closed from around 11pm on Thursday until shortly before 9am on Friday between junctions 21 (near Rochdale, Greater Manchester) and 22 (near Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire) because of a police investigation following a crash in which a 19-year-old male car passenger was killed.

The RAC estimated 13.5 million leisure journeys by car would take place across the UK between Friday and Sunday, up 20% on the three days before Christmas Day last year.

Wham!’s Last Christmas crowned Christmas number one | Ents & Arts News

Wham! has been declared the UK’s official Christmas number one with Last Christmas – 39 years after first being denied the festive top spot.

George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley’s festive classic beat hits from Eurovision star Sam Ryder, Mariah Carey, and The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl.

Ryder’s You’re Christmas To Me secured second place, followed by Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You.

Stick Season by Noah Kahan came fourth and Merry Christmas by Ed Sheeran and Sir Elton John came fifth.

Written and produced by the late Michael, Last Christmas was beaten to the crown in 1984 by Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas?

The 80s pop duo’s hit has now set the record for the longest-ever journey to UK Christmas number one, according to the Official Charts Company.

“It is a big moment, and it is a big moment for me and everyone involved with Wham! and George Michael,” Ridgeley told BBC Radio 1.

“He (Michael) wrote it with number one in mind, that was the goal. He happened to write what distills the essence of Christmas in audio form.

“It is an extraordinary achievement. It makes it all the more wonderful to experience.”

When asked what it takes to write a Christmas number one, Ridgeley said: “That’s the magic, it is very difficult to identify quite what it is that makes a number one that has that breadth of appeal.

“What Yog (Michael) did with this track was distilled what Christmas represents in many people’s minds.”

Sam Ryder
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Sam Ryder

In this Dec. 3, 2014 file photo, Mariah Carey performs at the 82nd Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony in New York. Caesars Palace announced Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, that the pop icon would launch a residency May 16 at The Colosseum in Las Vegas. Carey has announced 18 performances so far. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)
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Mariah Carey in 2014

‘Huge disappointment’ to miss out in 1984

Ridgeley said it was a “huge disappointment” for the pair not to reach the top spot in 1984 as they believed it was “nailed on”.

“Had it not been for Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas?, it probably would’ve been number one,” the 60-year-old said.

“Thwarted for many years subsequent to that – the perennial bridesmaid – over recent years it seems it’s become part of the fabric of Christmas for a lot of people.

“Christmas number one has been a long-held ambition for Yog (Michael) and I, and for the fans, too. It’ll mean a lot to Wham!’s legacy – it’s the crowning glory.”

Andrew Ridgeley of Wham! Pic: Official Charts
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Andrew Ridgeley of Wham! Pic: Official Charts

‘Fans will have a real sense of achievement’

Ridgeley said the song was “conceived as a Christmas number one” as Michael had “lofty ambitions for himself as a songwriter”, before the band split in 1986.

“Our fans will have a real sense of achievement and pride in the fact it’s become Christmas number one,” Ridgeley added.

Michael died on Christmas Day in 2016, aged 53.

Last Christmas is now the UK’s third biggest song of all time, with a combined lifetime total of 5.34 million chart units, the Official Charts Company said.

It was streamed 13.3 million times over the last seven days, making it the most-streamed Christmas number one ever during Christmas week.

How to avoid food poisoning this Christmas – and the dreaded freezer burn | UK News

Nothing spoils Christmas quite like food poisoning – although wasting all of your leftover Turkey comes in at a close second.

That’s why the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has shared some top tips to help keep your Christmas safe and minimise food waste over the festive period.

From safe Turkey storage to correct defrosting and cooking methods – plus a look at how to avoid the dreaded freezer burn – here’s everything you need to know.

Keep it on the low

You should ideally store raw meat and fish covered on the bottom shelf of your fridge to avoid cross-contamination or spillages affecting ready-to-eat food and vegetables, according to the FSA.

They recommend keeping Turkey and ready-to-eat food apart even while completing your initial Christmas shop, so make sure you bring enough bags.

Your fridge needs to be set at 5C or below to keep your Turkey top-notch, they add.

Leave plenty of defrosting time

No one wants to be tucking into their Christmas turkeys on Boxing Day.

So bear in mind that a whole turkey can take up to five days to fully defrost – and that you shouldn’t take shortcuts by thawing it out of the fridge.

Always check the packaging for instructions, as some turkeys that are bought frozen can also be cooked from frozen.

But as a general guide, the FSA says you should allow around 10-12 hours of defrosting time per kg.

A typical large turkey weighing 6-7kg could take as long as four days to fully defrost in the fridge, they add.

It’s absolutely vital that the turkey is thawed throughout, as it may cook unevenly if not, potentially leaving harmful bacteria in your meal.

Preparing and cooking your turkey

It’s important to wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap whenever handling raw meat. Also, be sure to wash any utensils and surfaces it has come into contact with.

A common misconception is that your turkey isn’t clean until you’ve washed it. But the FSA says it should absolutely not be washed before cooking, as this spreads germs onto your hands, clothes, utensils, and worktops.

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You’ve heard of a partridge in a pear tree, but how about an owl in a Christmas tree?

If you’re cooking stuffing, be sure to do so in a separate roasting tin, rather than inside the turkey, as a stuffed turkey will take longer to cook and may not cook thoroughly.

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If there are no cooking instructions on the packaging, here’s what the FSA says you should do: In an oven preheated to 180ºC (350ºF or Gas Mark 4):

• Allow 45 minutes per kg plus 20 minutes for a turkey that weighs under 4.5kg

• 40 minutes per kg for a turkey that weighs between 4.5kg and 6.5kg

• 35 minutes per kg for a turkey that weighs over 6.5kg

How you’ll know if the turkey’s done

You need to check that it’s steaming hot and cooked all the way through.

If you do not have a meat thermometer or temperature probe, cut into the thickest part of the meat, check that none of the meat is pink and that any juices run clear.

Avoiding freezer burn

Whether you’re cooking for many people or few, you’d rather have too much food than too little.

It’s therefore incredibly common to end up with huge portions of leftover Christmas cooking.

Fear not: you can freeze almost anything, including your cooked turkey, potatoes, veg and more.

Be decisive if you want to get things frozen, as it should be done within one or two hours of the food reaching room temperature.

It will be safe in the freezer for a long time, but the FSA warns of freezer burn.

Freezer burn is when foods in the freezer are exposed to cold, dry air, which causes them to dehydrate and form ice crystals.

It’s not typically dangerous, but it does reduce the quality of the food once you’ve defrosted it.

You can avoid freezer burn by eating the meat within 2-3 months. You can leave baked goods, fruit and veg for between 3-4 months before the burn kicks in.

When you’re ready for a second Christmas lunch, be sure to defrost food slowly in the fridge or in a microwave on the defrost setting, rather than at room temperature.

Once it’s defrosted, the FSA says to eat it within 24 hours. Be sure to have it all, as you can’t freeze it again afterwards.

Cost of Christmas dinner set to rise in ‘record-breaking’ festive grocery spree | Business News

The cost of a traditional Christmas dinner will rise on last year, according to a closely-watched report that is also forecasting record sales for supermarkets over the festive season.

Kantar Worldpanel, which tracks sales and prices at supermarket chains, said its annual measure for the cost of the typical main meal stood at £31.71 for a family of four.

The value of the list of goods, which comprises a frozen turkey along with vegetables – including potatoes and sprouts – and a Christmas pudding, was 1.3% higher compared to the lead-up to Christmas 2022.

While up, the figure is well below the UK’s rate of inflation which currently stands at 5.6%.

The Christmas dinner item which has shot up the most in price was cranberry sauce, Kantar said, which is more than 26% more expensive than last year.

The sparkling wine element of the meal was almost 6% lower than in 2022, with sprouts and the pudding also cheaper.

The report said that discounting by supermarkets in the run-up to the festive season, aimed at locking in customer loyalty for the big Christmas shop, continued to help push its measure of grocery inflation to ease over the four weeks to 26 November.

It stood at 9.1% compared to 9.7% over the previous month.

The report said that chains could collectively rake in more than £13bn for the first time over Christmas – a consequence of the higher prices we are being asked to bear.

Shoppers in a supermarket
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Potatoes, carrots and parsnips are more expensive ahead of this Christmas, Kantar says.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “The scene is set for record-breaking spend through the supermarket tills this Christmas.

“The festive period is always a bumper one for the grocers with consumers buying on average 10% more items than in a typical month.

“Some of the increase, of course, will also be driven by the ongoing price inflation we’ve seen this year.

“While the rate at which grocery prices are rising is still well above the norm, the good news for shoppers is that inflation is continuing to come down.”

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Nov: ‘People are starting to spend a bit less’

The Kantar report was released as industry body the British Retail Consortium (BRC) expressed further concern about sales volumes more widely in the run-up to Christmas, fearing that cost of living pressures are taking their toll on budgets.

After official figures showed sales at COVID lockdown levels during October, the BRC suggested that encouraging signs for spending in early November did not hold up for the month as a whole despite widespread early Black Friday discounting.

Its latest Retail Sales Monitor showed total sales by value were 2.7% up last month, easily lagging the rate of inflation.

Food and drink, health, personal care and beauty products continued to drive growth, while jewellery and watches saw the biggest decline in sales on the high street.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Black Friday began earlier this year as many retailers tried to give sales a much-needed boost in November.

“While this had the desired effect initially, the momentum failed to hold throughout the month, as many households held back on Christmas spending.

“Retailers are banking on a last-minute flurry of festive frivolity in December and will continue working hard to deliver an affordable Christmas for customers so everyone can enjoy some Christmas cheer.”

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It may not be all bad news for stores and the wider economy, though.

Separate data from Barclays showed confidence in spending on non-essential items reached its highest level since April last month.

Its latest report on card spending pointed to strong demand for fashion on the high street.

Christmas dinner favourites at risk after washout harvest | UK News

Christmas dinners could be in jeopardy with storms causing havoc for farmers struggling with one of the toughest harvests on record.

Britain’s latest potato crop is predicted to hit a record low of 4.1 million tonnes with retailers forced to supplement supplies from cold storage, experts say.

Shoppers can also expect empty shelves after the harvests of broccoli and cauliflower were badly affected.

Supplies of Christmas cornerstones sprouts and parsnips have also suffered but are expected to recover enough to reach plates on 25 December.

Unprecedented rainfall, almost double the average for October, including Storms Agnes, Babet and Ciaran have meant waterlogged farms have struggled to produce enough vegetables for the festive rush.

Fred Searle, editor of Fresh Produce Journal, said: “The British potato harvest has been hit hard by heavy rain and flooding in recent weeks, causing delayed lifting and large crop losses. This was preceded by a cold, wet spring and a cool summer with low light levels.

“With the potatoes that are in store there’s likely to be enough supply to meet demand for the time being, but that might not be the case in the months ahead.”

Lincolnshire grower Martin Tate, who manages 18,000 acres in the county, said: “There won’t be enough broccoli to supply the Christmas dinner demand.

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‘A third to cut back on Christmas spending’

“Cauliflower is still a problem, and you can expect to see empty trays over the next few weeks but may return to normal before Christmas. After some initial issues, brussels sprouts supplies look like they will be okay.”

Experts said that chips will not be affected as those potatoes used for chipping are mostly grown in Belgium.

Earlier this month, T H Clements, one of the country’s largest suppliers of Brussels sprouts with 11,000 acres in Lincolnshire and 1,000 in Cornwall, warned that sprouts would be smaller this year than average.

CEO Chris Gedney told BBC’s Farming Today: “Brussels sprouts are likely to be smaller this year as the larger ones tend to fall in the water and rot.”